Saturday, December 10, 2011

Simon Properties' Boston Industrial Financing Authority/Rubin & Rudman Law Firm Connection

In apparent violation of previous 99-year lease, amended lease, sub-lease and sub-sub-lease agreements of the late 1970s and early 1980s between the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and Aetna's UIDC subsidiaries (as well as the April 1980 City of Boston's Urban Development Action Grant application to HUD) which restrict what kind of residential units can be constructed on the Copley Place project's public land, the Boston Redevelopment Authority recently undemocratically approved the Simon Properties Group/Copley Associates LLP' proposal for reconstructing the Copley Place project.

Although 25 percent of all residential units constructed on the Copley Place project site, at all times, are apparently required to be affordable to low-income or low-income/moderate-income tenants until 2077, Simon Properties wants to now reduce the percentage of low-income or low-income/moderate-income residential units on the Copley Place project site to below 25 percent--by adding a 47-story skyscraper of unaffordable, luxury apartment residential units near the corner of Stuart and Dartmouth Streets in Boston's Back Bay/South End neighborhood.

Coincidentally, the Rubin and Rudman LLP lawyer that represented Simon Properties' private, special corporate interests at the public Boston Redevelopment Authority hearing which undemocratically approved Simon Properties' proposal to reconstruct the Copley Place project--James H. Greene--has also apparently been the "Chairman of the Boston Industrial Financing Authority" in recent years, according to the Rubin and Rudman corporate law firm website.

Also, coincidentally, the Rubin and Rudman lawyer and "Chairman of the Boston Industrial Financing Authority" whose Simon Properties' client was successful in getting the Boston Redevelopment Authority to approve Simon Properties' proposed Neiman Marcus Tower/Wintergarden skyscraper building project in the Back Bay/South End has apparently made over 75 individual contributions to the campaign committees of various local and state politicians (totalling over $19,500) since 2002--including 9 individual campaign contributions (totalling $4,000) to the campaign committee of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. According to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance [MA OCPF] website, for example, between April 13, 2011 and October 15, 2011 Simon Properties' Rubin and Rudman Attorney Greene gave 2 campaign contributions (totalling $500) to Boston Mayor Menino's campaign committee and 13 additional campaign contributions (totalling $2,550) to the campaign committees of other local or state politicians in Massachusetts.

One additional reason the affirmative action and community benefit housing provisions of the Copley Place project's 99-year lease and UDAG application that apparently require 25 percent of all residential units constructed on Copley Place land to be affordable at all times to low-income or low-income/moderate-income families or persons should not be apparently violated now by Simon Properties, is that the need for new low-income residential housing units for Boston residents has increased, not decreased, since the Copley Place project was originally built in the 1980s. As the 2010 Greater Boston Housing Report Card study of Northeastern University's Kitty & Michael Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy observed:

"...Despite more than two years of a weakening economy and falling home prices, rents remained stubbornly high. We now have additional data for all of 2009 and the first half of 2010 on rents in Greater Boston, and they suggest that our original concern was not misplaced...Rents have actually increased since last year, not softened...

"...Between the second quarter of 2005 and the third quarter of 2008, average asking rents in Greater Boston rose by $186 (12 percent)...

"...At the end of 2009, the average asking rent in Greater Boston had dropped about $50 from its 2008 peak...By the second quarter of 2010, though, rents began rising again...Whatever downward correction in rents took place was rather short-lived...

"According to, in the second quarter of 2010, only four metropolitan regions--New York City; Westchester County, New York; San Francisco; and Fairfield County, Connecticut--had higher average rents than Boston...

"...There is little reason to believe that the historically high rents of the past several years will come down anytime soon..."

But since low-income tenants in Boston apparently don't contribute as much money to local and state politicians as lawyers for out-of-state-based real estate developers like Simon Properties, the Menino Administration's Boston Redevelopment Authority apparently sees nothing either illegal or unethical about allowing Simon Properties to build a skyscraper of over 300 more unaffordable, luxury residential units on the public land upon which the Copley Place project stands.

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